Vail Town Council continues to work on Booth Heights alternatives
Town officials assuring Children's Garden of Learning there won't be any interruption of service
- Preserve the 23.3-acre Booth Heights property.
- Build housing just to the east of the Middle Creek apartments.
- Move the Children’s Garden of Learning to a suitable location in town.
- Create a plan to ensure more deed-restricted housing in town.
A car has about 30,000 parts. A deal to create an alternative to building housing at Booth Heights in Vail isn’t quite that complicated, but a lot has to happen to make everyone happy.
Town officials in January started looking for ways to not build housing at the 23.3-acre Booth Heights site just north of Interstate 70 at the East Vail interchange.
The outline of a plan includes building housing just east of the Middle Creek Village apartments. That will require finding a new home for the Children’s Garden of Learning, which currently occupies that town-owned site.
The town’s currently preferred alternative for the child care center is to add a third floor to the Vail Gymnastics Center, which is just east of Red Sandstone Elementary School. Other sites are also being examined.
Given the complexity, it’s going to take some time to get a deal in place.
Seeking workable solutions
Paul Graf, a member of the Children’s Garden of Learning Board of Directors, Tuesday asked councilmembers to extend the child care facility’s lease to September of 2022. That would ensure continuity of service while a new home is completed.
That request runs headlong into a key element of a draft agreement between the town, Vail Resorts and Triumph Development. Triumph was to buy the Booth Heights site and build workforce housing there.
That draft agreement called for housing at the Middle Creek site ready for occupancy by November of 2022.
An early version of that agreement came in for a good bit of public scrutiny in July, with several town residents calling for a more simple agreement.
Vail Town Manager Scott Robson said the parties to the Booth Heights/Middle Creek agreement continue to work on details of the proposal.
Robson said the partners “were listening” to public comment at the July meeting.
“We’ll bring a draft back to (the council and the public) when we’ve made modifications agreeable to (council) and the partners,” Robson said, adding there’s no firm timetable to make those changes.
Robson added that town officials have also been meeting with the Children’s Garden of Learning board. The goal of those talks is to ensure there’s no gap in service, Robson said.
Councilmember Kim Langmaid said she’s confident the partners can make the plan work.
“If we all stick with it, we’re going to come out with an end result that looks good for us … If we can work together, and trust one another, we can accomplish all our goals.
Councilmember Jen Mason noted that some people want the town to move faster on the plan, while others are urging a go-slow approach.
In addition to housing, “We’re taking the best interest of (the Children’s Garden of Learning) and listening to their concerns, she said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.